After a week without action, the UFC is back with a bang.
Four heavy-handed heavyweights top the card in the main and co-main events of UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai, while there are plenty of fun fights that pack out this bumper 14-fight card.
Below, we will preview the main event, pick a sleeper fight you must not miss, and let you know how, and when, to watch the card.
Main event: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai
Dangerous heavyweights meet in the Octagon Saturday… 😤
— UFC (@ufc) May 31, 2021
Both Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai have something to prove when the step into the Octagon at the UFC APEX on Saturday night.
Surinamese kickboxer Rozenstruik burst onto the UFC’s heavyweight scene when his services were acquired by the promotion in 2019 and rose to the upper echelons of the rankings in double-quick time. Four knockout wins in a row – and against some top names – will do that.
Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Allen Crowder and Junior Albini all fell foul to Rozenstruik’s devastating power. However, “Bigi Boy” hit a major stumbling block at UFC 249 in May 2020, when he was knocked out in just 20 seconds against today’s UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou.
Rozenstruik was able to bounce back from the first loss of his MMA career with a big win over former champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 252 three months later, but he dropped a unanimous decision against rising contender Ciryl Gane in February to bring his resurgence to a halt.
As for Albini, he looked every bit of the heavyweight prospect we saw win a contract in Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil in August 2018.
Like his upcoming opponent, the Brazilian of Japanese descent strung together a run of four victories after joining the UFC roster, defeating opponent-in-common Arlovski, Chase Sherman, Marcin Tybura and Blagoy Ivanov.
Albini’s rise was abruptly stopped at the hands (and elbows) of the aforementioned Overeem last September, his first loss in almost three years.
With both coming off defeats and being ranked 6th and 9th in the UFC heavyweight standings respectively, Rozenstruik and Sakai will both be eager to avoid making losing a habit.
That, combined with their record of finishing fights, makes his a contest well worth its headline billing. For the record, Sakai boasts 11 knockout wins from his 15 victories, while Rozenstruik has scored 10 KO triumphs out of the 11 times he has got his hand raised after the fight.
Make sure you tune in on Saturday night.
Sleeper fight to watch: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Miguel Baeza
— UFC_AUSNZ (@UFC_AUSNZ) June 3, 2021
Speaking of having something to prove, Santiago Ponzinibbio is a man who will be determined to leave the cage with a win after his comeback plans were spoiled last time round.
The Argentine ascended up the UFC welterweight rankings after embarking on a seven-fight winning run that spanned three years, defeating names such as Court McGee, Nordine Taleb, Gunnar Nelson, Mike Perry and Neil Magny along the way.
However, the last fight of that victorious streak – Magny – in 2018 would be followed by a series of injuries and and bouts of ill health that ruled him out of action for over two years.
With his health back in tact, “Gente Boa” made his long-awaited return to the cage against China’s Li Jingliang this past January, but things didn’t go to plan for the 34-year-old as Jingliang emerged the victor from their battle by first-round knockout.
Now that seven-win run is done, Ponzinibbio will take on welterweight prospect Miguel Baeza in an attempt to get his career back on track.
Baeza is no slouch, though. The 28-year-old boasts a spotless 10-0 record and has proved that he is more than ready to take on long-tenured UFC veterans since earning himself a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2019.
In his three fights since, Baeza has scored three stoppage wins. Hector Aldana and the notoriously tough Matt Brown endured TKO defeats to Baeza, while Takashi Sato succumbed to a arm-triangle choke the last time “Caramel Thunder” graced the Octagon.
A win for Baeza could see him break into the top 15 of the UFC rankings, while victory for Ponzinibbio will help him kickstart his journey back to where he once was in the welterweight pecking order.
Two more bangers who would love nothing more than a win on Saturday night? Make sure you catch this fight that is early on in the UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai main card.
UFC Fight Night: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai full fight card
Heavyweight: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai
Heavyweight: Walt Harris vs. Marcin Tybura
Middleweight: Roman Dolidze vs. Laureano Staropoli
Welterweight: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Miguel Baeza
Middleweight: Duško Todorović vs. Gregory Rodrigues
Middleweight: Tom Breese vs. Antônio Arroyo
Women’s Flyweight: Montana De La Rosa vs. Ariane Lipski
Heavyweight: Tanner Boser vs. Ilir Latifi
Welterweight: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Muslim Salikhov
Featherweight: Makwan Amirkhani vs. Kamuela Kirk
Lightweight: Alan Patrick vs. Mason Jones
Women’s Flyweight: Manon Fiorot vs. Tabatha Ricci
Featherweight: Sean Woodson vs. Youssef Zalal
Lightweight: Claudio Puelles vs. Jordan Leavitt